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Last Updated: Sep 11, 2020
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Hormonal Imbalance: Symptoms, Causes, Test, Treatment and Diet

About Symptoms Hormonal imbalances in women Hormonal imbalances in men Causes Tests Treatment Side effects Post-treatment guidelines Complications Recovery Cost Results Diet Natural remedies
Hormonal Imbalance: Symptoms, Causes, Test, Treatment and Diet

What is hormonal imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance is a condition that occurs due to high or low levels of hormones in the bloodstream. When hormones are imbalanced, your entire body can be affected. Hormones are produced in the endocrine glands. Hormonal problems can be faced by male and females. Different factors are responsible for this and it can put several roadblocks in the realization of a healthy body and a healthy mind.

In women, hormone levels can fluctuate during puberty, menopause or perimenopause. A man can also experience hormonal imbalance when they go through the male menopause phase or when they experience age-related hormonal shift called andropause.

Hormones like estrogen, testosterone, insulin and adrenaline affect the proper functioning of our body. These hormones, secreted from different organs, work together to regulate the different processes in our body. Imbalance of even one hormone can cause a host of health issues. Imbalance of different hormones can cause different side effects.

Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance

The hormonal imbalance depends on the degree of a specific hormone which is out of balance. The common symptoms that may be experienced during hormonal imbalance are:

Hormonal imbalances in women

Many women naturally experience hormonal issues throughout lifetime like during their puberty, menstruation, childbirth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, perimenopause or postmenopause.

The most common hormones whose levels fluctuate are estrogen and progesterone in women. This happens primarily due to overuse of birth control pills, undergoing a lot of stress and also overuse of cosmetics.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women

Hormonal imbalance can have the worst effect on the body as it can increase the number of health issues and diseases. The symptoms are:

  • Periods flow: heavy or irregular and sometimes can be a missed periods
  • Acne issue on face, chest or upper back
  • Hair loss
  • Skin darkening
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Vaginal atrophy
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Sweat at night
  • Excess of hair growth on different body parts
  • Osteoporosis - weak or brittle bones
  • Breast tenderness
  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Infertility
  • Weight gain
  • Clitoral enlargement
  • Deepening of the voice

Causes of hormonal imbalance in women

Mostly, females are at risk of hormonal disorder than males because they have endocrine organs and cycle. Below are some of the causes of irregular hormonal imbalance:

  • Hormone replacement or birth control
  • Early menopause
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
  • Ovarian cancer

Hormonal imbalances in men

Testosterone imbalance in men leads to thinner, shorter hair or in some cases, hair loss. Apart from the above mentioned treatments, other remedies include over the counter supplements to balance hormones, dietary changes, taking on less stress, exercising more, sleeping more and even taking prescription medicines.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men

Men also experience a natural cycle of hormonal imbalance during their lifetime. Testosterone plays an important role in development. Hormonal imbalance can occur in men at the time of puberty or ageing. Hormonal imbalance symptoms in men are:

  • Breast tightness
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Low sperm production
  • Loss of hairs from the beard
  • Osteoporosis
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • A Sudden feeling of warmth

Causes of hormonal imbalance in men

Men also experience a different hormonal imbalance during their lifetime than women as the have completely different cycles and endocrine organs. Below are some of the causes of irregular hormonal imbalance in men:

  • Natural causes: Puberty and Aging
  • Medical conditions:: Prostate cancer, Hypogonadism (low testosterone)

Causes of a hormonal imbalance

The causes of hormonal imbalance may vary to the specific symptoms involved. In general, hormonal imbalance occurs due to changes in a hormone-producing gland. There are various causes of hormonal imbalance and each cause may relate to the different glands, so does it impact on your body. Some of the common causes are:

  • Diabetes either Type 1 & 2
  • Thyroid- Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Tumors - benign or cancerous
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Eating disorder
  • Medication
  • Stress
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Injury or trauma
  • Tumour in the pituitary gland
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Treatment of cancer

What are the hormonal imbalance tests?

Diagnosis is performed to detect hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances can be detected from its symptoms. Hormone levels can be cross-checked through some blood tests. A blood test detects the level of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and thyroid. As per the symptoms, your doctor may suggest an ultrasound to check the pituitary gland, thyroid, uterus, testicles and ovaries.

Folowing tests will be performed based on the symptoms to detect hormonal imbalances.:

  • Blood test: Hormone levels can be cross-checked through some blood tests. A blood test detects the level of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and thyroid.
  • Pelvic exam: Doctos perform pap smear test to detect tumors or cysts.
  • Ultrasound: As per the symptoms, your doctor may suggest an ultrasound to check the pituitary gland, thyroid, uterus, testicles and ovaries.

Doctors may also perform the following tests as per the requirement:

  • Biopsy
  • Thyroid
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Sperm count

How hormonal imbalance is treated?

Treatment for hormonal imbalance will depend on the cause. Every individual may require different treatment for hormonal imbalance. Treatment option for hormone imbalance includes:

  • Estrogen therapy:

    If you are facing symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, your doctor may suggest a low dose of estrogen. Just be sure to discuss the risk and benefits of hormone replacement therapy with your doctor.

  • Vaginal estrogen:

    People experiencing vaginal dryness or pain at the time of sexual intercourse, it is related to the changes in the level of estrogen. You may want to apply cream, tablet or ring to the vaginal tissue to reduce symptoms. This local therapy treatment may avoid many risks related to systemic estrogen that travels throughout the bloodstream to a suitable organ.

  • Hormonal birth control:

    If you’re trying to get pregnant, hormonal birth control can help regulate menstrual cycles. Types of hormonal birth control include: For those who are trying to get pregnant, the hormonal birth control can help to regulate the menstrual cycles and symptoms. The type of hormonal birth control is:

    • Vaginal ring
    • Birth control pills
    • Intrauterine device (IUD)
    • Birth control shot
    • Birth control patch
  • Anti-androgen medications:

    Medications that block the male sex hormone that are present in both women and men. The women with high androgen levels may choose to take medication that blocks the effect of androgen-like:

    • Facial hair growth
    • Hair loss
    • Acne
  • Metformin:

    A medication for type 2 diabetes that may help women with the symptoms of PCOS. The medication helps to manage and lower the sugar level and encourage ovulation.

  • Testosterone therapy:

    It is injectable via patch or gel. Testosterone helps to reduce the symptoms of hypogonadism. In adolescents with delayed puberty, it stimulates the start of puberty.

  • Thyroid hormone therapy:

    In people with an underactive thyroid, the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid) can fetch hormone levels back into balance.

  • Flibanserin (Addyi) and bremelanotide (Vyleesi):

    The FDA- approved medicine for the treatment of low sexual desire in premenopausal women are Addyi and Vyleesi. The medication is self-administered injectable. This medication may have serious side effects such as nausea and changes in blood pressure. Consult your doctor immediately if you see any side-effect of medication.

  • Eflornithine (Vaniqa):

    It is prescribed cream designed especially for excessive facial hair in women. It is applied topically to the skin and helps to slow the new hair growth but doesn’t get rid of existing hairs.

Are there any side effects?

Hormone replacement therapy can increase the risks of heart disease and stroke, cause blood clots to form, cause gallbladder problems and breast issues. It may also cause bloating, headache and hot flashes.

Oral birth control pills can increase resistance to insulin and abnormal intolerance to glucose. This may put the person at risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

A person taking medications to treat hormonal imbalance will have to make the corresponding changes in his/her lifestyle to achieve the best results. The treatment for hormonal imbalance is generally a long term process and there are no such post-treatment guidelines.

However, sleeping well, exercising and having healthy foods can go a long way in alleviating hormonal imbalance in both men and women.

What are the complications associated with hormonal imbalance?

Sometimes complications can arise due to hormonal imbalance not because of symptoms. The common cause of a hormonal disorder comes from diabetes, thyroid issues, glandular issues and tumour.

Specifically, in women, it indicates early menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, ovarian cancer. In the male, it may lead to the condition of prostate cancer.

Do consult your doctor immediately if you see any new or unusual symptoms. Always keep a track of changes, as this is helpful when you have to describe to your doctors. Complications associated with the hormonal disorder are:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Kidney damage
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Breast cancer or Endometrial Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Infertility
  • Sexual Dysfunction

How long does it take to recover?

A person who has changed his diet and his lifestyle will generally require some time before he/she can understand the good effects. Hormonal changes do not take place suddenly and it will take time for the hormone levels to reach their normal levels even after taking medications.

It takes a person about three months to feel the full effects of hormone replacement therapy. The recovery period, hence, will vary from person to person and also depend on the severity of the hormonal imbalance.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

15 tablets of anti-androgen or testosterone blockers cost around Rs 25 in India. A person may have to take one daily if there is an imbalance in his testosterone levels. Therefore, the monthly cost comes to around Rs 50 per month. One sheet of estrogen tablets cost around Rs 300.

Other hormone replacement therapy medications generally cost around Rs 100 for a week’s dose. Birth control pills generally cost between Rs 100 – Rs 500. Antidepressants are available within a price range of Rs 18 – Rs 3000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Stress is one of the primary causes why men/women suffer from hormonal dysfunction. Stress results in increase in the production of cortisol that causes the depletion of progesterone. Poor gut health can impede the production of sex hormones, adrenal hormones and thyroid hormones.

Manifestations of poor gut health include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, reflux and gas. Furthermore, malfunctioning of the thyroid gland can also cause hormonal imbalance. Thus, even if a person has undergone treatment for hormonal imbalance, he/she can experience the same problem if he/she suffers from stress, gastric or thyroid problems.

What is the best diet for hormonal imbalances?

A healthy diet can go a long way in treating hormonal imbalance in both men and women. When it comes to change in hormonal level, we usually forget to keep a check on our diet as the remedy. However, there are certain foods that actually help out in balancing the body hormones and are also helpful in improving the overall health of individuals without any medications.

Consuming foods rich in healthy fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocados and salmon help to treat hormonal imbalance. Adaptogen herbs not only help a person to balance hormones but also protect him/her against various diseases. Ashwagandha is one such herb. Breathing exercises and acupuncture help a person to get relief from stress and thus help to restore hormonal balance.

Below foods may help you to keep your hormones in balance the natural way:

  • Avocado
  • Flaxseed
  • Broccoli
  • Pomegranate
  • Salmon
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Soy
  • Turmeric
  • Quinoa

Foods to avoid to help hormonal imbalances:

Below are some of the unhealthy food diet to avoid, if dealing with the hormonal disorder:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Packed food
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Alcohol
  • Fat- free milk

Foods to eat to help hormonal imbalances:

Having foods rich in zinc helps to manage the level of testosterone. People should include omega-3 fatty acids in their diet as they help in the production of healthy cell membranes.

Healthy cell membranes ensure that the hormones reach the intended cells in the body. Estrogen levels can be maintained by taking in lots of fiber. Below are some of the healthy food diet to consume, if dealing with the hormonal disorder:

  • Soy
  • Broccoli
  • Chickpeas
  • Sour Cherries
  • Chicken Breast

Natural remedies to treat hormone imbalances

A hormonal balancing diet needs the right food to optimize the level of blood sugar and insulin. Below are a certain way to treat hormonal disorder naturally:

  • Minimize or eliminate the usage of sugar:

    Sugar keeps the insulin level high and other hormones out-of-balance and it paves the way for the insulin resistance. Increase in inflammation can result due to the food sensitivities like intolerance of gluten. It can also contribute to hormonal imbalances.

  • Balance out your stress level:

    Chronic stress is all- around not a good for hormonal balance. To improve the level of insulin medication practice is necessary. You can also do yoga, deep breathing to de-stress yourself and you can look for options also to see what works best for you.

  • Address toxicity:

    Our body is always surrounded by many chemicals. These chemicals are present everywhere, the air we breathe, the food we eat or the products which we apply on our skin. Some of these chemicals misbehave with hormones as they interfere with hormonal production and create damage.

  • Get good sleep:

    Many hormones including ghrelin and cortisol are impacted by the irregular sleep cycle of an individual. Sleep disturbance can cause many problems like hormonal imbalances. Proper sleep can routine can naturally control the hormones. Men benefit more from sleeping well as their body produces testosterone during the REM cycle of sleep

  • Exercise regularly:

    Exercise can help to boost the growth of hormones and at the same time, a proper diet, nutrients and lifestyle play a role in balancing the hormones naturally.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 22 years old and suffer from pcos and acne I started homeopathy treatment and now it's 6 month of treatment my periods start coming in every month but acne come again and again when they also go away? How long time it take to go?

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Pcos is a disease where there is a hormonal imbalance. Depending on your complaints, examination, reports, and stage of life treatment differs, and it also needs more time to get yourself treated with patience. Meet gynecologist in whom you have t...

I am experiencing spotting after periods for last 21 days. I have pcod. I took texakind tablet for 4 days. How can I stop this altogether?

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Most of the medical problems need personally taking detailed medical history and examination with the need for reports sometimes so meet concerned doctor- gynecologist pcod is a disease where there is a hormonal imbalance. Depending on your compla...
1 person found this helpful

I was on risdone (2, dicorate (750, inderal la (40) given by a psychiatrist for anger issues. However I recently left those medicines abruptly as I don’t feel the need to continue them. And there seems to be no anger at all ever since then. However I have been having severe headaches since I left these medications.

Ph.D Psychology, M.Phil - Psychology
Psychologist, Jaipur
Dear user when we are aware about our problem we are able to control but we have to control it in a proper way. You are too young and taking these tablets, it’s not good for your physical as well as your mental health. If you don’t want to tak...

I'm having dronis 30 regularly for the past 6 months to regulate periods and cure pcod. And getting periods after 3-4 days after the last pill every month. My last periods came on 26th march to 29th march but the flow was very less. From the 2nd day I took each pill regularly and my last pill got over on 16th april. Today is the 5th day and I didn't get periods. How long should I wait till I start with the pills again. I'm not sexually active.

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Wait for 2-3 days more and if no period consult your gynecologist. Pcos is a disease where there is a hormonal imbalance. Depending on your complaints, examination, reports, and stage of life treatment differs, and it also needs more time to get y...

I have pcod and I don't even go through my periods on previous month and now I am going through my periods it is coffee brown in colour and it just last for two days with slight bleeding and now it will obtain only when urination in a very very little amount what is that indicates.

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Pcod is a disease where there is a hormonal imbalance. Depending on your complaints, examination, reports, and stage of life treatment differs, and it also needs more time to get yourself treated with patience. Meet gynecologist in whom you have t...

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